Dear Ms. Snark,
I may have done a very nitwitted thing. I found an agent who takes submissions in my genre on the Publisher's Marketplace website. In that agent's listing, it said that queries could be e-mailed to the agent, or submitted by snail mail with an SASE (the listing didn't indicate a preference). I sent an e-query over a month ago. I haven't heard anything back yet.
Today, I was reading a book "Guide to Literary Agents", which listed the same agent. The book said, however, "No e-queries." Perhaps this is why I haven't heard anything back yet from the agent.
I have only been able to find about 20 agents who accept submissions for the genre that I'm writing in, so I really can't afford to lose any potential agent opportunities. What should I do?
1) Send an e-mail apologizing for sending an e-query, and asking if I can still send him a snail-mail query. No.
2) Send him a snail-mail query and explain my e-mail faux pas in the query letter. No.
3) Do nothing, hope that the Publisher's Marketplace listing was correct and the book listing was not, and hope that he is just very busy and might still get back to me. No
4) Give up all hopes of this agent ever accepting a query from me, as I have royally f*%ked up my chances with him. No.
(what no more options?)
On a related question, how long is it acceptable to wait for an agent to respond to your query before sending them a "status check" letter? I have several agents who haven't responded to the query letter I sent them over a month ago (and I did remember to include SASEs).
Thanks for the help.
In answer to 1-4 you send your query in the mail with an SASE but you do not not not start out apologizing. NO. You just query.
Generally Publishers Marketplace is more current than anything in book form. We submit the info to the Writers Guides almost 15 months before they are published. Lots changes in that amount of time.
To answer the second question:
If the agent's website doesn't tell you what the time frame is (30 days on a query, 90 on a partial etc) I'd give them six weeks. I'm pretty nice to the people who nudge me on a query at six weeks cause really, I should have responded. Things happen, people get behind but if the query didn't get there, you don't want to wait too long to find out.
What makes me nuts are people who ask after a week on queries, or a month on FULL manuscripts, particularly since I think I'm pretty clear what my time frame is. That's the sign of someone who thinks the world revolves around them, or is a basic illiterate about directions, or worse, thinks the directions are for everyone BUT them. yuckola in the extreme.
You don't qualify for nitwittery on this one but keep trying...the week is young.